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Thread: Besson Prestige : Quality problem with silver finishing

  1. Besson Prestige : Quality problem with silver finishing

    In January 2011 I bought a new Besson 2052 with silver finishing. Almost immediately after I bought it, scratches appeared in the silver finishing, just below the lead pipe (and later on also at other places). These scratches were caused by the euphonium rubbing against the inside of its case, the silver finishing being too soft. After long discussions with the shop owner (LEMCA, Belgium) and Buffet-Crampon, Buffet-Crampon recognised that they had had some problem in their manufacturing process with the hardness of the silver finishing and I got a completely new instrument in April 2012. Altogether this was great customer service, BUT immediately after the replacement, I noticed that the new instrument (serial number 11000368, so produced in 2011) has exactly the same problem. Last week I restarted sending letters to the shopkeeper and to Buffet-Crampon. The shopkeeper now claims that all Besson Prestige instruments have this problem and other customers accept this and live with it. My first instrument had serial number 10000569, produced in 2010, so it seems that the same manufacturing problem occurred in 2010 and 2011.

    Hence my question : has anyone experienced the same problem or heard about it? Or do you have a silver Besson Prestige with perfectly hard finishing that does not get scratched? From which year? I am of course mainly interested in the instruments that were produced in Germany (since 2007 or so?). I would like to know if this is a specific quality problem or a general one. Of course the sound and playing quality is not affected, but when I bought this magnificent instrument for 5.818 ?, I saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime purchase that I trusted would remain in good condition for the whole of my musical career. I certainly did not expect that it would loose its beautiful appearance and get scratched within one month.

  2. #2
    That's news to me. Are you (and they) sure that the case isn't at fault? Could there be some grit or dust in the fabric? That would certainly cause scratches on any silver finish.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. Yes the case is at fault. The liner of the case is a form fitted foam material with some sort of lining that is fairly stiff. The horns are wrapped in a very soft, felt-like bag on shipment. If you want to avoid the scrathces, keep the horn in the bag. I had the same issue with my 2051 (dating from late 2006). Since I almost never use the case (I use a gig bag) I have not had as much of a problem. Also, I have always used some sort of cloth (either the Besson bag or some black cloths) between the horn and the case.

    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  4. Thanks for the above contributions. I hope some more people will contribute with their experience with the silver finishing of this widespread and prestigious euphonium.
    Yes, the case is part of the problem. The damage is the most severe at a spot just below the lead pipe, where a sharp edge of the case touches the instrument. Lighter scratches appeared along the tube all along the line where the instruments touches when it lies down in its case. My first Prestige indeed came with such a felt-like bag, but Besson did not provide an instruction to put the instrument in this bag after each use. Actually I asked my shopkeeper at the time if I should do this and he told me it was only intended for long term storage. Actually it would be very unpractical to use this bag every time and don't know anyone who does this. There is certainly a risk that you would drop the instrument at some time, because this requires a complex manipulation. My second Prestige came without such a bag (the shopkeeper had thrown it away ...). I always put a Besson cleaning cloth in between the instrument and its case, but that does not really help.

    Still I think that this silver finishing is really too soft and I find it hard to believe that all Besson Prestiges have this. Certainly my previous Sovereign, that was produced in the UK, didn't have this problem (but it was stolen ...). I presume that Besson must have had problems with certain production batches, but it occurred at least in 2010 and 2011.

    Looking forward to your experiences and opinion.


    PS1 : 'Lust' is just my real family name.
    PS2 : The price of 5.818 mentioned above was in Euro.

  5. #5
    I hope more Besson owners will hop in and comment, because I have never owned a German-made Besson. I had no such problems with the English Bessons I used to play (or my 1980's Sovereign baritone, which I still have).

    Before the Adams I now play I was using Sterlings, which were British-made. Sterling outsources the plating and it has generally been fine; never a problem with unusual scratching. For a while they had a problem with a vendor not putting a thick enough plating on the horn, but even then it was not prone to scratching.

    I'm sure there are many factors in a good plating job, and there may be some that cause softness on the surface.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    I have a 2008 2056 and a 2011 2052. Both have the same style case. I have not noticed any unusual scratching and the plating has been as durable as one could expect on both instruments. I'll have to check the particular spot the original poster mentions and get back to you all.

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